Basketball Canada officials will appeal a decision by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) which sanctioned Canada for withdrawing, during the COVID-19 pandemic, from two qualifying matches ahead of the tournament. the AmeriCup 2022.
FIBA officials on Wednesday announced the imposition of a fine of 160,000 Swiss francs (CAN $ 227,138) on the Canadian organization and the removal of a point from the standings because Canada chose not to not participate in the matches scheduled against Cuba on November 29 and against the US Virgin Islands the following day.
Half of the fine and the lost point have been deferred, provided Basketball Canada meets its obligations at the next FIBA competition.
The sanction was strongly denounced by Nick Nurse, the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team.
At first, Nurse, who is also the head coach of the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, lamented “the rigidity of FIBA in times of pandemic”.
He also said he supported Basketball Canada’s decision not to participate in the games as the safety of the players came first.
“We just didn’t think we could do it as safely as we wanted at this point, which I think is understandable,” Nurse explained.
“On the other hand, it’s disappointing that FIBA fined us and took a point away from us. I think these are unique moments that maybe require unique situations. ”
The matches were to take place in a bubble concept in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
At the time, Basketball Canada executives explained that their participation would have gone against health and safety measures, as well as travel rules that had been put in place because of the pandemic.
Basketball Canada maintained this position in an official statement Wednesday.
“In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic that claimed the lives of over 2 million people around the world and infected 96 million more, we never thought we had to make the choice of well-being of our players and our training environment while being sanctioned for an inability to participate in international competition safely, ”Basketball Canada wrote.
“As a non-profit association, a fine of 80,000 to 160,000 Swiss francs (approximately $ 113,998 to CAN $ 227,997) will have a significant negative impact on our operational capacity, causing us to redirect existing funds to continue our broad mission of developing our sport at the amateur level across Canada, while funding high performance programs to participate in upcoming international competitions, ”Basketball Canada executives also said.
In addition, according to Basketball Canada, the sanctions were made public even before the Canadian organization was notified of this decision.
“Therefore,” added Basketball Canada, “we have not had the opportunity to understand or discuss with FIBA the explanation vis-à-vis these sanctions. ”
If Canada manages to reclaim its point in the standings, it will sit fourth in its qualifying pool, Group C, with three points in two games.
The Dominican Republic ranks first with seven points in four games, while Cuba and the US Virgin Islands have four points in three games.
Canada is scheduled to play four games in the next qualifying window, starting with a duel against the U.S. Virgin Islands on February 17, and a clash with Cuba the following day.
The top three teams from the qualifying tournament will take part in the FIBA AmeriCup, which is due to take place in September 2022.